We advocate no doubt Hayekian free enterprise but we don’t think Adam Smith’s invisible hand will be that responsive to the changing times. Hence, whenever necessary, to paraphrase John Kenneth Galbraith, we temper free market with an appropriate dose of state intervention to rectify the social inequities attendant on the interplay of pure market forces. [Full text of Anwar’s speech at CLSA forum in Singapore. Published by The Malaysian Insider. May 20 2008]

Only Anwar Ibrahim could advocate two violently opposing ideas in one go at the highest level. The former Deputy Prime Minister made it as if Keynes had slept with Hayek!

No, no, no. Not Salma Hayek. It is the great Friedrich Hayek.

5 Responses to “[1664] Of Anwar Ibrahim, both Keynesian and Austrian?”

  1. on 21 May 2008 at 16:44 Elanor

    More like bad speech-writer.

    Like his earlier speech in Spore on the crisis. Quoting names out of context everywhere – cringe cringe.

  2. on 22 May 2008 at 18:10 sigma

    I actually thought it was a pretty good speech. Granted, his speech writer got a little carried away by the ‘flowery’ elements in his prose, WHICH did make me cringe a little.

    Anyway, good solid informative speech. Especially liked ‘The Decline in FDI’ section of it.

    Like what I’ve said before, the more Anwar talks about PKR, the more I say it’s in effect a social-democratic party. A ruler to spank Adam Smith’s invisible hand sometimes? Check. Welfare net? Check. Unashamed advocacy of subsidies for certain ‘critical’ segments of public institutions? Check.

    Finally. The ascendancy of the Left is approaching in Malaysia. Ha Ha Ha (forgive the evil laugh).

  3. on 22 May 2008 at 18:42 Hafiz Noor Shams

    Dear Elanor, Sigma,

    I honestly believe Anwar Ibrahim (or his speech-writer, whomever you want to blame; I believe if he spoke of it, he is responsible for it) is providing numbers without context.

    For instance, when he talked about investment over GDP, why 5-year timeline is used for Brazil and India while for Malaysia, he used a 10-year timeline?

    Keep in mind, 10 years ago “mega-project” was a fad in Malaysia. I wonder what effect did that have on investment. If a 5-year timeline were used instead, I have a feeling the drop for Malaysia wouldn’t be as steep (it could even be a rise for all we know).

    Besides, is the fall of the ratio is due to fall of investment or increase in GDP or something else?

    Talking about FDI, I remember KS Jomo stating at a public forum in 2007 that FDI to SEA was falling because many of it was being redirected to other part of Asia, especially China and India. Yet, what Anwar said was “oh, FDI for Malaysia fell in the same period” as if Malaysia was the only one suffering the drop.

    I really have issues when people quote a figure without context.

    Malaysia do have issues we have to face but we have to be honest about those problems if we are to start solving them. In this speech, he is doing what he has always been doing, trying to please everybody. In any case, this is a political speech, not economics. So, I suppose it is to be expected.

  4. on 23 May 2008 at 05:02 Wan Saiful

    Typical politician-speak, isn’t it? Not left. Not right. Slap bang in the middle, and able to move both ways depending on the audience.

    To clarify, I am in no way suggesting he is being hypocritical. But I am saying that he is a very, very good politician.

  5. on 23 May 2008 at 12:26 nat

    :) well, who knows what the future will bring, but if i’m given any hand in it, i too would love to see something a little more fleshed out, less flowery, and more substantial. i’ll know where to look for help, if it’s ever called for :)

    in the meantime, fredrich vs. salma = lol!!!

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